Peace for Humanity Rally and Declaration for Global Peace

Peace for Humanity Rally and Declaration for Global Peace

by Sheila Musaji

This past week there was a significant event in London which is as important as the Amman Conference Statement and the Common Word Statement in undermining the rationalizations of the extremists.

An estimated twelve thousand Muslims and interfaith leaders gathered for an event called “Peace for Humanity” sponsored by Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI).  The event was broadcast live to dozens of countries, and was a rally against extremism and to promote a moderate, inclusive version of Islam.  The event in Wembley Arena was led by Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a respected Pakistan-born Islamic scholar.

The Press Association reported that

The conference heard a series of lengthy and impassioned speeches, some in Arabic, from Islamic scholars denouncing terrorism and extremism.

There were also prayers for peace from a range of representatives from different religions including the Bishop of Barking, the Rt Rev David Hawkins, Jewish rabbis and representatives from the Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths.

The declaration of peace includes a call for democracy and good governance in the Muslim world, respect for human rights, and alleviation of poverty throughout the world.

Dr Qadri’s speech was made in spite of death threats he has received after issuing a fatwa against terrorism last year.

Speakers at the rally included Shaykh Hassan Mohiuddin Qadri, Shaykh As’s Muhammad Sagharji (Syria), Mrs. Ghazala Hassan, Shaykh Dr. Ahmad Omar Hashim (Egypt), Shaykh Dr ‘bd al Fadeel al Qawsi (Egypt), Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad (UK), Shaykh Ahmed Babikir (UK/Sudan), Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy (US), Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, Richard Barnes, Mrs. Sweba Khan, Dr. Joel Hayward (UK), Prof. John L. Esposito (US)

Dr. Qadri’s comprehensive 600-page fatwa is listed in our TAM collection of fatwas against extremism and terrorism.  You can read the executive summary of the fatwa here

NPR reported that Qadri told the gathered crowd “I want to address those who are lost, who have a total misconception of jihad I want to send them a message come back to normal life. Whatever you’re doing is totally against Islam,”

He also told the gathering “In spite of statements and memorandum and condemnation of the terror, the voices of the 99% true, peace-loving Muslims have not been heard, they have been drowned out by the clamour and the noise of extremists.  “Islam has nothing to do with any act of terrorism. We reject every act of extremism and terrorism unconditionally.”

Minhaj-ul-Quran issued a London Declaration for Global Peace & Resistance against Extremism.

At the rally, MQI announced the establishment of a new website http://www.peaceforhumanity.co.uk on which they were posting a statement denouncing terrorism and hopes to get a million signatures to that statement to ‘affirm that all humans everywhere possess inherent dignity and immutable rights, including freedom from poverty, oppression, fear and prejudice and freedom of belief, worship and expression’.  Here is the declaration:

Preamble

Recent decades have seen the world’s great faith and cultural communities torn apart by misunderstandings and mistrust to such an unfortunate degree that people of good intentions towards each other are now compelled to declare their unequivocal rejection of the beliefs and activities that divide them and their unreserved embrace of the beliefs and activities that unite them.

We, the signatories to this “London Declaration for Global Peace & Resistance against Extremism”, affirm that all humans everywhere possess inherent dignity and immutable rights: these including freedom from poverty, oppression, fear and prejudice and freedom of belief, worship and expression.

This declaration is being launched by Muslims for the Muslims of the world and for the rest of humanity.

Declaration

We the signatories to this declaration send a message of peace and fraternity to all of humanity’s innumerable states, nations, communities and individuals along with a call for respect, dignity, compassion, equality, solidarity and justice for, and between, all people.

We address our call for peace, tolerance and respect to all people everywhere, but especially to political and religious leaders and decision-makers as well as to scholars, teachers and journalists.

While we recognise the unique differences between faiths, cultures and communities, and we recognise that all people gain happiness and identity from what they consider to be unique, we declare that all humans everywhere possess immutable rights and values that transcend all political boundaries and philosophies and are inherent and important in all religious faiths and creeds.

Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and those of other religions, along of course with all people who do not identify with any faith, must enjoy the same civil and legal rights and freedoms and be able to live in peace and harmony and must  pursue peace only through mutually respectful engagement and dialogue.

We reject unequivocally all terrorism because at the heart of all religions is a belief in the sanctity of the lives of the innocent. The indiscriminate nature of terrorism, which has in recent years killed far more civilians and other non-combatants than it has combatants, is un-Islamic, un-Judaic, un-Christian and it is indeed incompatible with the true teachings of all faiths. Because of its manifestly indiscriminate and therefore murderous nature, we condemn all terrorism in all forms and in all countries regardless of any claimed religious and political intentions.

We unequivocally reject, disown and condemn all terrorism committed in the name of Islam, just as we reject and condemn all terrorism committed in the names of other religions or causes. Terrorism is never a legitimate and honourable act of war but is always a cowardly act of indiscriminate murder.

We reject as mistaken and spurious any assertions made by both Muslims and non-Muslims that the world is currently locked in an inexorable struggle between Islam and the West and we commit ourselves, through positive and mutually respectful engagement and dialogue, to oppose any and all claims of clashes of civilisations or the incompatibility of the values in various regions, states and communities.

We support efforts by international agencies, governments and communities to protect the world’s citizens from terrorism; we commit ourselves to assisting in the de-radicalisation of those groups and individuals who might mistakenly believe that their religion tolerates indiscriminate and wanton violence.

Whereas we do not overlook the real or perceived grievances that may serve as a causative fuel for terrorist violence - and we call upon all national and local governments to address those grievances with haste and resolve - we commit ourselves to the non-violent resolution of those issues as well as to the removal through education and dialogue of conspiracy theories that seem to blinker some peoples’ worldviews.

We welcome the wave of popular and generally peaceful uprisings against tyranny and oppression known as “the Arab Spring” and we recognise that it is a rights-based, not religion-based, movement which is compatible with the universal human rights and aspirations mentioned above.

We call on all international agencies and governments to support with clarity and resolve the liberty-motivated Arabs, Berbers and other Muslims and we call upon them to do so in a non-martial, impartial, transparent and well-communicated manner that will enhance trust and establish bonds of good will.

We the signatories to this declaration believe that the too-long-running conflict between Israel and Palestine needs to be resolved urgently and with scrupulous fairness.

We affirm the necessity urgently to resolve this conflict so as to provide both the Palestinians with a sovereign pluralistic and representative state and the Israelis with national and local security. If it is to be permanent and durable, the peace agreement between Israel and Palestine must be fully and actively supported and protected in a non-partisan fashion by the international community and its terms must be equally beneficial to the citizens of both states who have for so long feared and mistrusted each other.

We call for the promotion of human rights, fundamental freedoms, equality between men and women, and the cardinal values of humanity such as reconciliation, forgiveness, generosity and solidarity.

We declare that there is no difference between an Arab and a Jew, between a Muslim and a Christian, between a Hindu and a Sikh, between a black person and a white person, or between a man and a woman. All humans are equal and must be treated with equal respect, dignity, compassion, equality, solidarity and justice.

We unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism (including when sometimes it is disingenuously clothed as anti-Zionism), Islamophobia (including when it is sometimes disingenuously dressed up as patriotism) and all other forms of racism and xenophobia.

We call on all Muslims and other minorities living in the West to respect all the laws of the country in which they are living whether they possess the status of citizen or resident.

We call on the Muslims, the governments and the elites of the West to promote integration and citizenship, the only solution for peaceful co-existence and cohesion.

We call on all governments to protect minorities against all hatred, intimidation and violence, especially from ultra-nationalism or religious intolerance.

We call for increasing aid for Africa, and other impoverished regions and nations of the world, in order to improve their living conditions, provide socio-economic and political stability, and realise the objectives of true democracy.

We call on the financial powers to introduce more humanity in their economic considerations. After both world wars, the stability of the European states is crucial for the world.

We call on the world governments to increase efforts for the alleviation of poverty, to combat illiteracy, proliferation of weapons, and threats to our natural environment.

11,000 participants at the Peace for Humanity Conference support this London Declaration for Global Peace & Resistance against Extremism.

Finally, we the signatories to this declaration call upon all people everywhere to express their agreement with our beliefs, expectations and aspirations by adding their own signatures to the declaration, which will be found online on http://www.peaceforhumanity.co.uk & www.londondeclaration.com

This event and the declaration are not getting the attention in the mainstream press that they deserve.

However, it seems that the work of Minhaj-ul-Quran is being noted by the extremists, and they are concerned that such efforts are an effective counter to their message.  Within hours that site came under repeated cyber attacks, and was taken down for some time.  They are working to fix the problem and have a temporary site up, but as of this writing the ability to sign the declaration had not been repaired.  I will update this when it is possible to sign the declaration.

It is currently possible to sign the declaration here http://www.londondeclaration.com/?page_id=2

SEE ALSO:


Extremists block Muslim website just hours after it appears online http://www.metro.co.uk/news/876601-extremists-block-muslim-website-just-hours-after-it-appears-online#ixzz1ZA21nbl8

Gathering of Muslims in UK denounces violence, Murtaza Ali Shah http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=9114&Cat=13

Muslims Hold Anti-Terrorism Rally In London http://www.npr.org/2011/09/24/140771624/muslims-hold-rally-in-london-against-terrorism

UK Muslims hold rally against extremism http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5geEwEHZk0XTeZgGfZFX-tyP3ByZw?docId=ae72f07b68b94968b86b7e8cadde962c

UK Muslims call to end terrorism, David Sapsted http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/europe/uk-muslims-call-to-end-terrorism


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